Blue and Green Holi Colours may be Dangerous

Use only natural herbal colors this Holi as otherwise there can be serious health hazards, said Padma Shri, Dr. B C Roy National Awardee & DST National Science Communication Awardee, Dr. KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and Sr National Vice President Indian Medical Association. Other way is to apply chandan ka tika. The deeper meaning behind the festival is to remove internal dirt from the body by spreading love and affection.

Chemical colours, bhang and indiscriminate use of alcohol, can all lead to health hazards.

An earlier report from AIIMS has shown that green/bluish–green colours are associated with higher incidence of ocular toxicity.

In fact most “pleasing to eye” colours available in the market are toxic and could cause serious disorders.

Malachite green is extensively used in Holi and can cause severe eye irritation with epithelial defect upon exposure, though it usually does not penetrate through the cornea.

Presence of cheap inorganic chemicals like mica, acids, alkalis, pieces of glass, not only induce skin disorders like abrasion, irritation or itching but can also impair vision, cause respiratory problems and also cancer. The alkaline base of these colours can cause injuries, the severity of which depends upon the area of contact and the degree of penetration.

Broadly, there are three categories of colours available in the market: Pastes, dry powders and water colours. The hazards increase when these are mixed with oil and applied to the skin.

Most inorganic dry colours or gulals have two components — a colorant which may be toxic and a base, which could be asbestos or silica, both of which are capable of causing health hazards. While silica dries as well as chaps the skin, asbestos that is a known human carcinogen, can result in cancer.